A slice of Long Beach history — or should I say a cup?
Visited January 30th, 2016 at 11 am
Viento y Agua is a coffee shop that I began to frequent recently; located at 4th and Termino, the shop has been around for 12 years, so the shop is fairly new to the area itself. Nevertheless, Viento y Agua attracts the young and old; the artistic and intellectual; the busy and lazy; bottom line is, if you are a human looking for a safe haven of sorts, then Viento y Agua will most likely satisfy some side of your existence.
The shop was first owned by a Hispanic couple (hence the name), and is now owned by Asians; as a matter of fact, my friend’s uncle now owns the shop! As a result, the space, although now being owned by Asians, still maintains much of its Hispanic decor. Much like the early origins of Southern California, Mexicans came through and established themselves with the next wave of immigrants being the Chinese, and I found the shop’s history of ownership to be an interesting parallel to that class discussion.
Starting off under the ownership of Hispanics, the store oozes Mexican vibes. The walls were originally built with bricks and are now covered with plaster, but a legitimate effort was made to maintain at least one corner that exposes the bricks. This not only adds to the unique vibe of the venue (it personally makes it feel more like a broken in living space rather than a shop to me), but I also see it as a way to show off the pride of the culture (i.e. the foundation) that the store was built upon. In our last classroom discussion, we talked about the Spanish missions and the ranches, and I feel like the brick wall in the store reminds me of the old Spanish missions. The outside of the store gives off a Spanish mission vibe to me as well, with the storefront resembling the shape and outline of a mission. The walls are covered with local art and the logo of the store itself is stylized in a Mexican fashion (reminiscent of the Day of the Dead festival), which ties in the Spanishy vibe quite well.
Overall, the store is a hub for everyone ranging from musicians and artists to people who just want to take a break from their day. I’ve only started to visit the shop every week since the beginning of the year, and I already feel like visiting this shop will be a common occurrence for me. The baristas are very polite and open to conversation, and they have a wide variety of food and drinks available (some are even vegan friendly). They host Open Mics every Thursday night, have musical performers and comedians on Saturday nights, and they are also open to hanging up artwork from local artists on their walls. Viento y Agua is truly a piece of Long Beach history and also a facilitator of Long Beach history. I recommend getting some coffee and sitting yourself down on a nice sofa the next time you want a change of pace — not only will you be supporting an independent business, but you’ll also be history.